Just a Few Marshmallow Hallow Mysteries

Posted February 11, 2021 by Berls in Just a Few Books I Read, Review / 3 Comments

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This feature is for short reviews, reviews of books in a series where it might feel repetitive, or (as Michelle suggested) books I was too lazy to write a “real” review for. Today’s books are both from the new series by Dakota Cassidy – Marshmallow Hallow Mysteries. 

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Just a Few Marshmallow Hallow MysteriesJingle all the Slay by Dakota Cassidy
Narrator: Hollie Jackson
Series: Marshmallow Hollow Mysteries #1
Published by Tantor Audio on 01-26-2021
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 175
Length: 5 hours
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

Welcome to Marshmallow Hollow, Maine, a holiday mystery, where it's all Christmas all the time and murder is hung by the chimney with care...
I'm Halliday Valentine (yep; funny name is funny), a psychic witch who's recently moved from New York City back to my very human hometown of Marshmallow Hollow, where I run the family factory that caters to all things Christmas. I inherited the factory from Mom, who inherited from Nana Karen, but now it's just me (kinda...long story), my curmudgeonly British familiar hummingbird, Atticus; one ungrateful rescue cat; my talking reindeer, Karen; and my BFF Stiles (the only human aware of my witchy side).
Oh, and Digby Dainty (known as Hobbs), the tall drink of water who rents my guest cottage. And who I wouldn't mind getting to know better. We have a lot in common, including a love of true crime. So as macabre as it sounds, when a shady real estate tycoon shows up dead in the middle of the annual ice festival, I'm thrilled to spend time with Hobbs, flexing our amateur sleuthing skills.
Well...not thrilled. I mean, a guy's dead after all. But he did try to con some businesses right out from under the hard-working locals. In fact, the only thing more surprising than a murder in our charming Christmas town is how many of my friendly, beloved neighbors seemed to want the man dead...

I didn’t realize this was a spin off of the Witchless in Seattle series. I’m a couple books behind on that series so I missed out on where they connected. I think I’m going to go back and catch up on that one so that I get the connection. It’s certainly not necessary, but Hal (Halliday) frequently mentions her sister from that series and I wish I knew how they found each other.

The mystery was fun and I liked the characters a lot. The magic is interesting and I think I’ll enjoy the Christmas town setting as I continue in the series. I enjoyed the many references to different books and series that I enjoy (Darynda Jones, Nalina Singh to name a couple). And, as in the Witchless in Seattle series, there’s fun companions – this time we’ve got her hummingbird familiar, Atticus, and her grandmother who was reincarnated as a reindeer, Molly. The romantic interest I also think will be a fun one to watch develop. All in all, a pretty standard Dakota Cassidy small town cozy mystery with a side of paranormal. It’s nice to get what you expect and have a fun time 🙂

The narration was good, as I would expect form Hollie Jackson who also narrates Witchless in Seattle. I listen at 2x speed and enjoy it with no problem – she does fun voices and really embodies the characters.
3 stars Just Okay

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Just a Few Marshmallow Hallow MysteriesHave Yourself a Merry Little Witness by Dakota Cassidy
Narrator: Hollie Jackson
Series: Marshmallow Hollow Mysteries #2
Published by Tantor Audio on October 29, 2020
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 189
Length: 5 hours 12 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

Welcome to Marshmallow Hollow, Maine, a holiday mystery, where it's all Christmas all the time and murder is hung by the chimney with care...
For an adorable little Christmas town, Marshmallow Hollow sure sees a lot of action. Just days off the last murder—solved by moi, Halliday Valentine, and my gorgeous tenant, Hobbs—I’m eagerly awaiting a visit from my dear Uncle Darling and his husband, Monty, when my phone blows up.
Another murder, this time at the convenience store on the edge of town…and Uncle Monty was hurt in the process.
Without hesitation, Hobbs and I jump into action, seeking justice for the deceased and both of my uncles. Between ambulance-chasing lawyers, career-climbing journalists and chain-smoking ex-drug dealers, we have more than enough suspects to go around.
But how do any of them connect to three missing girls from neighboring towns…?
Will Monty, the only living witness, be safe while the killer’s at large …?
Will Atticus, my adorbs hummingbird familiar, magic me to Siberia when I use one too many spells for his liking…?
And most of all, how will Handsome Hobbs react when he learns my frequent “migraines” are a lot less neurological…and a whole lot more paranormal?

I can tell that this cozy mystery series is going to be one of those I really enjoy for a quick break. It makes me laugh and I’m already growing attached to the main characters.

And, as much as I do love the main characters, please oh please can we have more of Uncle Darling? Hal’s cross-dressing uncle and his husband were probably what made this book just a bit better for me than the last one. Uncle Darling is what every guncle should be (fun, loving, and a bit on the dramatic side). I say that raising my son with two sets of guncles, so maybe that’s where the affection comes from? 😉

The mystery in this one was equally good – it kept me guessing from beginning to end and I did not see the answer coming at all. This murder was much sadder than the one in the last book – with the recovering alcohol husband and father to a new baby dying at the very start. I guess that probably also hit my harder because I have a 16 month old and I don’t even want to try and imagine that loss. So this book hit me in the feels unexpectedly.

I’m also enjoying the developing romance between Hobbs and Hal. I look forward to seeing where that’s going. I feel like Hobbs has some secrets that need to be revealed though — Texan boy moved to Marshmallow Hallow, Maine just because he visited once and loved it? And how does he afford his lifestyle? I want answers.

My only two negatives – 1 for the series overall and 1 for this book. For the series, each chapter begins with the title of a Christmas book or song and their year and author. This COULD be a neat way to start the chapters, if I saw any connection between them and the story. And maybe there is one, but it’s going way over my head. The result is that at the start of every chapter I get slightly confused and pulled out of the story, until I remember it’s just because I’m starting a new chapter. This probably wouldn’t be as disruptive in the print as it is the audio.

My second negative is actually the narration, this time only. In general, I really enjoy Hollie Jackson’s narration and she does a great job with the characters. I LOVED her voice for Uncle Darling, for example. BUT in Have Yourself a Merry Little Witness, Hal is sick. Comments keep getting made about how awful she SOUNDS. And yet, she sounded exactly the same as she always does in the narration. It had the effect of (1) puling me out of the story to think about the narration and (2) making me forget she was sick frequently. I think that, if I were reading it, I would be imagining her voice as ill. I hate to come down on a normally great narration, but for me, that was a disappointment. Won’t stop me from reading future books in audio, by any means. But it did take away a bit of my joy in this one.

3.5 stars pretty good

About Berls

Michelle adopted me as part of her blog when I decided to close down my blog, Fantasy is More Fun. The blog was dying, but my love of reading and the blogosphere was still strong as ever - so I found my new home here at Because Reading!

I'm not just a book lover, but a one time author (that hopes to be more in the future), wife, mom to the cutest, happiest, best 2 year old and step-mom to the craziest, sweetest 22 year old on the planet. My family mean everything to me and they appear frequently in the Sunday Post with Berls. So grab a glass of wine and chat books, blogging, and family with me!



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3 responses to “Just a Few Marshmallow Hallow Mysteries

  1. As much as I enjoy a couple other paranormal cozy mystery series, I can’t believe I haven’t started the Witchless in Seattle ones. Glad the spinoff is carrying on strong, too.

    LOL, I agree that a person who is remarked on more than once as sounding terrible should probably sound a bit different at least.